Former World Champion and current opposition activist Garry Kasparov announced in an hour-long press conference that he will not return to Russia under the current Vladimir Putin’s administration. This announcement was made in Geneva, Switzerland where Kasparov was receiving a human rights award. Despite being at odds with his government, Kasparov had this to say:
Russia is and will always be my country. I am still traveling on a Russian passport, and though I was born in the USSR, and have spent most of my adult life traveling constantly, Russia is my home even when I am not able to be there. I refuse to allow Putin and his gang define Russia. They are a temporary disease that the Russian immune system will soon fight off.
Kasparov maintains residences in New Jersey, USA and Paris, France and states that he will publicize this issue in the U.S. and European channels. This controversy has become acute during the trial of 12 anti-Putin protesters. As a result, Kasparov feared that he would become the subject of an increasingly aggressive crack-down on opposition. Last August, Kasparov was forcibly taken into custody for partaking in a protest for the Pussy Riot trial.
Here is the press conference held at the United Nation’s office is Geneva.